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Or an island where nostalgia disappears

If someone likes a vacation with adventures, or nostalgia for the USSR is tortured, feel free to go on a trip to Cuba. But not just to beach resorts, where everything is filtered by communist censorship, but deep into the island. In the two weeks I spent on Liberty Island, I visited the police twice, learned to dance salsa, used the services of local prostitutes, lost all my money, never visited Havana, and miraculously returned to Moscow.

photo: Dina Karpitskaya

The trip promised to be not boring, because instead of the standard tourist set in the form of transfers, hotels, breakfasts and the like, we only had tickets. There to Cuba, and back from the Dominican Republic, which is located on a neighboring island. The travel agency said very confidently that there was a ferry from one island to another, and even called the price $ 150. And on the Internet I read that some Russian tourists from Cuba went on sea cruises to Jamaica, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and even Mexico. Therefore, there was no doubt that we would reach the end point of the route, Santa Domingo Airport. It turns out in vain.

***

Landing in Havana. Small cozy airport. Everyone smokes. Local beauties in insanely short skirts joyfully meet their foreign boyfriends. We are looking for a taxi to Varadero (130 km from Havana). I really wanted to go to the sea, so it was decided to go immediately to the coast. Taxi drivers did not take long to search. We quickly reach a consensus – 60 local convertible pesos to the place.

– What kind of car, we ask.

– Lala.

All tourists call these convertible pesos cookies (from the abbreviation CUC). Cookies are a tricky way for the Cuban government to rip off as much money from tourists as possible. Since all the “white people” in Cuba can change the currencies brought with them only for cookies. And they can pay for everything only with these cookies exclusively in foreign exchange stores. Changing cookies to local pesos or even finding out the ratio of these two currencies is practically impossible. The official rate is 1 $ = 1CUC, but when exchanging with you, they will rip off 20%.

Lala was the “Lada” of the seventh model. We drove a long time. On the way, we met local traffic cops in the bushes. “Just like in Russia,” we remarked in unison.